Children will easily identify with Pedro’s hesitation as well as his triumph over his fears, while the subtle patience and...

READ REVIEW

FIRST SNOW

Why does everyone seem to love snow?

Pedro’s cousins are as eager to go out and play in the snow as they are to welcome him for a visit. But Pedro isn’t so certain. “I have never seen snow. I don’t think I will like it,” he explains. “Because it is cold. And I don’t like cold.” McCarty’s finely drawn furry characters pop out from minimalist backgrounds and, as usual, exude personality, warmth and wonder. They beautifully depict Pedro as he gradually learns how to play with his cousins and experiences snow for the very first time, the simple, straightforward text allowing the pictures to be the focus. Despite trepidation, Pedro dresses up in winter clothing but stands back as his cousins make snow angels and join some neighborhood children for some sledding. When it’s Pedro’s turn, however, he decides to give sledding a try. Will he change his mind about snow? Fans of Chloe (2012) and Henry in Love (2010) will recognize some of Pedro’s new friends, while those unfamiliar with the other books will have a most pleasant surprise in store as they meet McCarty’s community of realistic, kindhearted and gently humorous creatures. 

Children will easily identify with Pedro’s hesitation as well as his triumph over his fears, while the subtle patience and acceptance offered by the other youngsters provides a nice balance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-218996-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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